No Peres visit to UK war plaque

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 13, 2008

A ceremony to unveil a plaque commemorating British diplomats who saved Nazi victims has been dropped from the schedule of President Shimon Peres' official visit to Britain next week.

Jewish organisations had objected to the wording of the plaque.

The unveiling was to take place at the Foreign Office on Thursday following a meeting between Mr Peres and Foreign Secretary David Miliband. It was part of the original schedule of the visit and the Foreign Office sent invitations out over a month ago. However, the schedule handed out this week omitted the ceremony, though Mr Peres will still meet Mr Miliband.

The Association of Jewish Refugees, which was to have sponsored the plaque, announced last week that it had decided against doing so because there was no mention of Jews in the plaque's wording nor any mention of the actions taken by the diplomats to go against Foreign Office policy in order to save people.

The Foreign Office and the Israeli Embassy said that the ceremony had been cancelled due to "scheduling problems".   The Israeli President's office said that it was not aware of any reason for the cancellation.

The Foreign Office confirmed this week that during his audience with the Queen at Buckingham Palace on Thursday, Mr Peres will be awarded a Knight Grand Cross of The Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George (KCMG).

The Foreign Office have since said that the ceremony will take place on Thursday, as scheduled, but without the presence of President Peres.

Last updated: 2:22pm, November 17 2008